We sometimes forget in our desperation that God has designs upon our lives not always congruous with our own. He wants to continue the process of molding us, working the clay of our personhood, into someone He can communicate His love and grace to more fully. Is it possible that our despondency over foiled plans actually get a thumbs up from God? We want things: blessings and all things easy. This may become a problem when it comes to prayer.
When I read Father Donovan’s distinction between “a continuing creation” vs. “a closed or finished creation” I got so excited, I had to make a comment or two of my own. It is not enough to pray to God because He once proved His awesomeness on creation week, but because He continues to prove it. The Bible, again, is not the record of what God did but the revelation of what God does. Father Donovan is spot on::
We Christians profess to believe in a continuing creation. …The idea of a closed and finished creation, an idea based on the impossibility of God having any interest in the creation He set in inexorable motion … is a pagan idea…1
Let me say it this way: If you need a plumber, call a plumber; but if you need a creator, talk to God!
So what exactly does a Creator God do for a living? According to the word “create” used in the Bible, He can take a clump of clay or a dark barren landscape, or a life without meaning, and see something beautiful and meaningful that He can form it into. And then He does just that!
Just the term, create, in the Hebrew dictionary is insightful: Creating includes: breaking, cutting, separating, carving, smoothing, polishing, fashioning, forming, producing,2 among others. Ouch!
If we want to clean up our act and live free from self-imposed guilt, call on the Creator, as David did in the Bible:
Create in me a pure heart, O God3
If what we want to do is follow in Jesus’ footsteps—not literally, but in terms of our lifestyle, our moral perspective, our love of God, etc.—we need to talk to the Creator:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. …predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son….4
After being diagnosed with an aggressive prostate cancer I underwent a bone scan to see if it entered my skeletal system, but—confession time—I didn’t ask God to heal me. I left that to my christian friends whose prayers for me are always greatly appreciated. When the scan came back negative, I thanked the Lord for this, but I knew that whichever way it went, I would still be grateful. He’s not my plumber; so I don’t always expect Him to fix my pipes.
He can fix pipes or He sometimes finds me a plumber. I am grateful for a team of medical professionals and I credit their expertise and the love they have for their craft and their patients for all the help they give.
Yes, sometimes the Creator heals! But He is my Creator first and His primary concern is working on my soul.
It is not that we expect too much of God when we pray for healing or any one of a number of other needs we are desperate to have met. Actually, when we fail to understand His creative power in our lives, we expect too little!
You did awesome things that we did not expect, You came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. – Isaiah 64:3-4.
no human mind has conceived the things God has prepared for those who love him – I Corinthians 2:9.
2 see William Gesenius, A Hebrew And English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Boston, MA: Houghton, Miffin and Company, 1882.
3 Psalms 51:10.
4 Romans 8:28-29.